Submission Synopsis

From Desert to Oasis
Zen and the Art of
Pond Building

by D. J. Herda

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70,000 Words



Author's Representative:

The Swetky Agency

2150 Balboa Way No. 29

St. George, Utah 84770



Other Books in the "Backyard Gardening" Series:

I.) From Serene to Surreal--New Ponds for a New Outlook on Life

II.) From Better to Best--Ornamental Trees and Shrubs in Pots

III.) From Hardly  to Harvests--Growing Fruit and Vegetables Indoors


The Book in One Sentence:

An expert shows how you can add years to your life and put the health back in your environment through indoor and outdoor ponds, waterfalls, and streams.


Stack a few rocks in a circle.  Cover them with fabric.  Add water, sit back, and enjoy.  From Desert to Oasis makes building your own pond, waterfall, or stream appear just about that easy.  It's your everything-you-ever-wanted-to-know guide written by a professional contractor and pond builder, with years of cost-cutting tips, labor-saving suggestions, and free-for-the-taking design elements to help turn your own backyard into a lush oasis of beauty, joy, and elegance.  And, as a bonus, you'll feel better, look better, and be healthier for the experience.  Why settle for anything less?


*     *     *


"Best-selling author D. J. Herda started building ponds five years ago as a means of escaping the pressures of mental fatigue and anxiety.  Now, in this captivating and informational new book, the former professional contractor guides you from the first steps of pond-building to the last, dishing out a heavy dose of physical and emotional well-being along the way.  It's Zen and the art of pond-building, bound to become the definitive guide to building ponds, waterfalls, and streams for years to come.  I can't wait to get started on my own backyard pond!" - Don Bacue, International Features Syndicate.



From Desert to Oasis

 Zen and the Art of
Backyard Pond Building



Different pond owners offer insiders’ perspectives into the healthful benefits of water features of different types and different sizes and explain how pond culture has increased the quality of their lives.

1 / Why Ponds?

Ponds add tranquility and a sense of purpose to life

Ponds add drama and focus to the landscape

Ponds raise the value of your property

Ponds create an ideal microclimate for growing healthier, more productive plants

Ponds entice wildlife, which in turn helps to broaden the ecosystem

Ponds off an opportunity to observe, study, and interrelate with wildlife

Ponds offer a chance to keep fish and water plants

2 / Cultivating a “Pond Mentality”

Thinking like a pond owner

The healing power of water

Planning for the pond

Different types of ponds




Finding a pond that meets your expectations

  • Check It Out

3 / Laying the Groundwork

Choosing a good site

Special needs: ponds for small spaces

Shade trees good; leaves, needles, and other debris bad—striking a balance

Utilizing your site’s natural terrain

Designing the pond

Drawing it out

Using photographs as landscaping guides

Preparing the site for a new pond

Removing obstacles to construction

  • Check It Out

4 / Digging In

Preparing the bed for an excavated pond

Checking for grade, slope, and drainage

Considering pond maintenance issues

Dealing with the prospect of leaves, grass clippings, and other nasty debris

Running off run-off

Creating varying pond depths

  • Check it out

5 / Going Up

Advantages and disadvantages of above-ground ponds

Construction materials



Construction techniques

Tips of the trade

  • Check it out

6 / What You’ll Need and Where To Get It

An annotated list of required pond materials

Pond supply stores: A resource guide

Building and home supply stores: A resource guide

The Internet: A resource guide

7 / Building the Pond

Laying the Fabric

Placing the Rock and Stone

Back-saving tips

Using faux rock

Installing the pump and filter


Testing for leaks and low spots

Tips to make life less frustrating

Waterfalls, Streams, and Sprays

Putting your imagination to use

Lights for drama and effect

Hard-wired lights

Solar-powered lights

  • Check it out

8 / Landscaping Your Pond

Selecting the best landscape design for you

Placing plants, rocks, and other features

Water plants

Marginal plants

Floating plants

Maintaining balance

Installing a mini-irrigation system

The why’s and wherefore’s

Some sound advice

Adding a timer

Bridge over soothing waters

Stepping Stones


  • Check it out

9 / Stocking Your Pond

Testing and adjusting the water

Choosing the right tenants

Koi and other cold-water fish

Tropicals and exotic warm-water fish

Mollusks, amphibians, and reptiles

Planning ahead for lower maintenance

Old Man Winter and you

  • Check it out

10 / Pond Maintenance

Designing for low maintenance

How to do it

Cleaning the pond

Cleaning the filter

Repairing torn liners

Feeding and fertilizing fish and plants

Algae and how to get rid of it

Chemical means

Mechanical means

Just plain weird means

Plant pests and diseases

Identifying and treating them

Fish diseases

Identifying and treating them

  • Check it out

11 / Attracting Wildlife to Your Pond


Small Mammals

Large Mammals

Reptiles, amphibians, and mollusks

  • Check it out

12 / Turning Your Pond into an Exotic Oasis

Growing orchids and other exotica

Growing exotic fruits and vegetables

Raising exotic pond creatures

13 / Getting the Most Benefits from Your Pond

14 / Help Is a Only a Mouse-Click Away

A user-friendly Web site where you can ask the author questions, get the author’s answers, and just plain have fun

i. Glossary

ii. Bibliography

iii. Index


Author's Bio:
D. J. Herda is one of the most successful and widely published authors in the world, with more than 70 books and several hundred thousand short pieces published in virtually every major publication in the English-speaking world.  His works have also been translated into 17 foreign languages.  See the author's entire Professional Precis at the following URL:  


Marketing This Book:
The author owns several pond-design and gardening-supply businesses and is setting up an interactive Web site for their nearly 4,000 on-line customers.  From there, people will be able to purchase the book, submit questions to the site, receive real-time answers, and inquire about future book projects.  The author has also hired a Public Relations firm to promote the book, and he will make personal appearances, do book signings, send out releases to all major gardening and aquaculture supply centers, send out e-interview offers to more than 4,600 magazines, newspapers, and radio and television stations, etc.


D. J. Herda is Executive Editor of Galleria Eros Writer's Lounge ( and is President of the American Society of Authors and Writers (, as well as a member/former member of The Author's Guild, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Washington Press Club and enjoys enormous following and influence within the field of writing and literature, as well as in gardening. 


Newspapers: The author has associations with editors at several hundred of the largest daily newspapers in North America, as well as numerous additional writers/readers/reviewers groups with which he is associated.  Magazines & Trade Publications: The author works with editors of over 400 entertainment magazines and trade publications, such as American Cinematographer, Daily Variety, TV Guide, Time Out New York, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Hollywood Reporter, Soap Opera Digest, The New Yorker, Movie Line, Media Week, Editor & Publisher, Boston Book Review, and Writer's DigestRadio: The author has professional connections at more than 650 radio stations and programs, including ABC Radio Network, USA Radio Network, Spotlight on the Arts, Inside the Movies, Heart of Hollywood, E! Entertainment Radio, and Book Talk.  Television: The author periodically consults with more than 350 television networks, stations and programs, including NBC Television Network, Access Hollywood, CNN showbiz Today, E! News Daily, Entertainment Tonight, and Fox on Entertainment.  News Wires, Syndicates & Databases: The author has access to direct delivery to newswires and syndicates such as AP, Reuters, UPI, BLOOMBERG PROFESSIONAL service, Dow Jones, New York Times Syndicate; and research databases, such as Factiva, Lexis-Nexis, Dialog, Hoover's, Standard & Poor's, and Edgar Online.

NOTE: All material is copyright protected.  No portion of this material may be copied or reproduced, either electronically,  mechanically, or by any other means, for resale or distribution without the written consent of the author.  All copy has been dated and registered with the American Society of Authors and Writers.  Copyright 2003 by The Swetky Agency